Gen Z Could Significantly Slow Down Hair Loss, But Must Act Quickly.
If you consider yourself having a bad hair day today, also consider this: the worst may be yet to come. That’s if statistics surrounding fleeting follicles are accurate. Three years ago, in 2018, data revealed 80 million Americans experienced some hair loss. On this National Hair Day — celebrate what you got because, by age 50, nearly 85 percent of men and 50 percent of women will have far fewer follicles, according to data compiled by the American Hair Loss Association.
Though still no cure, Scientists continue to figuratively pull their hair out in search of a solution. The causes of hair loss have long been known and include genetic predispositions, stress, auto-immune illnesses, and the side effect of prescription drug use. Outside of surgery, the American Hair Loss Association boldly states on its website that over-the-counter potions and other “promising” elixirs do not bring about hair-raising results.
THE ROLE OF PLATELET-RICH PLASMA OR PRP
If you’re among the current second-youngest generation of Americans, and reading this, the hope for a significant reduction in hair loss and baldness rests on you for two reasons. First, there are a number of available treatment options, and not uncommon for a hair restoration patient to utilize a few of them in the journey toward regrowth. A lack of information, study trials and results, reviews and overall awareness likely kept a good portion of Gen Xers and Millennials from understanding and seeking treatment.
Second, Gen Z is at the ripe age and stage of hair loss and restoration. PRP treatment works best in the early stages of hair loss — before hair follicles become too weak. Since 25 percent of men will start balding before age 21, and two-thirds will experience hair loss by age 35, you can see why Generation Z needs to take quick action. The oldest Z’s are 24 years of age right now. But that also means the youngest of Millennials are 25 years old and represent a small fraction of that cohort that could find favor with PRP treatment.
DOES THE PRP TREATMENT WORK FOR EVERYONE SUFFERING HAIR LOSS?
Opinions, science and even the protocols used in extracting a person’s PRP for hair restoration purposes are scattered. Platelet-Rich Plasma, which is injected around the follicles at the bald or thinning areas of the scalp, doesn’t actually do the re-growing. Rather, it acts as the catalyst to “liven” up the follicle to produce hair. The average hair restoration patient needs a few treatments and the span of three to six months before results are noticeable. But that’s if the patient gets results at all. While many hair loss suffers respond positively to PRP treatment, others don’t. The science swirling around inside a person’s body and the amount of damage to hair follicles before treatment begins can both work against the viability of restorative PRP use.
In a world where the COVID pandemic exacerbates ordinary daily annoyances and tension, and creates new frustrations, exists the chance for a rise in stress-induced hair loss. Medically known as Alopecia Areata, a person’s immune system begins attacking follicles leading to hair loss. Often, there are no warning signs, as actress Viola Davis revealed in an interview with Vulture Magazine.
“I woke up one day and it looked like I had a mohawk. Big splash of bald on the top of my head. I was like, what is this? Until I found out it was stress related. That’s how I internalized it.”Viola Davis, Actress (Vulture Magazine)
Fortunately, the use of Platelet Rich Plasma as treatment beyond genetic hair loss causes is promising. In a study published this past May in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, researcher offered this conclusion:
“At the end of the 6-month evaluation period, both groups demonstrated absolute increases in total hair density, follicle diameter, and terminal hair density, as well as absolute and percentage changes at the frontal and crown targeted sites compared with baseline. These improvements tended to occur more often in areas treated with higher platelet numbers than with lower numbers.”
With common hair loss or Androgenetic Alopecia (known as male pattern baldness in men) researchers in a 2019 study concluded PRP is a viable treatment and further saying:
“It is recommended that 3 monthly sessions of PRP (once monthly ×3 treatments) be used followed by a 3- to 6-month maintenance period.”
Full transparency, one of the researchers in the above study, Dr. Peter A. Everts, Ph.D., FRSM, serves as the Chief Scientific Officer for Gulf Coast Biologics.
While further study is taking place, the investigator for the study posted in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found no adverse reaction associated with PRP treatment.
It will be up to Generation Z to stay apprised of hair loss treatment options but for those who have decided to opt-out to let nature run its course, a day set aside for you is very near. National Be Bald and Free Day is Thursday, October 21st.
PRP Hair Restoration Citation:
Gordon H Sasaki, MD, FACS, The Effects of Lower Versus Higher Cell Number of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) on Hair Density and Diameter in Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA): A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo, Parallel-Group Half-Scalp IRB-Approved Study, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 2021;, sjab236, https://doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjab236
Gupta, A. K., Cole, J., Deutsch, D. P., Everts, P. A., Niedbalski, R. P., Panchaprateep, R., Rinaldi, F., Rose, P. T., Sinclair, R., Vogel, J. E., Welter, R. J., Zufelt, M. D., & Puig, C. J. (2019). Platelet-Rich Plasma as a Treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia. Dermatologic surgery: official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.], 45(10), 1262–1273. https://doi.org/10.1097/DSS.0000000000001894